Published on March 11th, 2013 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
The ESA Delivers a PSA for the ESRB that Involves Y-O-U
The Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) revealed its newest campaign to educate parents about the games their children play. Which, considering the ratings on every game on the current market, is something it should be doing anyways. The above video is an example of what you can expect.
The new public service announcement aims to identify with parents and address concerns for video games. Primarily, the concern in which games to purchase and what games are appropriate for their younglings. The announcement looks to provide parents with the training they need to access more restrictions, such as parental codes, for the given gaming console.
From the release:
“This campaign will connect with consumers in an immediate and sustained way in addition to the traditional mechanisms over TV outlets. By channeling our industry’s compelling and innovative medium, we will instantly provide proven, practical, and effective information to millions of consumers,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the U.S. trade association representing video game publishers.”
The ratings board falls under the jurisdiction of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). The entity itself represents the video game industry and its trade activities in the United States. Both the ESRB (name change from the IDSA) and ESA came to be in 1994. The new ratings board moved to change the way in which parents purchased games due to content within them. Here are a few key points that the newly introduced PSA looks to achieve in the announcement straight from the document itself:
- To empower consumers, especially parents, with guidance that allows them to make informed decisions about the age-appropriateness and suitability of video games and apps while holding the video game industry accountable for responsible marketing practices.
Leveraging this energy and passion, the industry will:
- Enhance public education efforts around video game ratings and parental controls by developing and funding a series of new PSAs;
- Utilize the unique interconnectivity and reach of the video game industry’s platforms to promote these public service messages and related content;
- Coordinate with video game retailers to use both their physical store footprints and dedicated online networks to educate millions of their customers about video game ratings and parental controls;
- Work with policy makers to extend the proven ESRB rating system to the broader games ecosystem of smart phones, tablets, and online social games; and,
- Support and partner with non-profits using video games for educational and other pro-social purposes.
Editor’s note: While this might not impact gamers directly, it might have a ripple effect for online interactions. If the games purchased by parents are limited based on ratings, some of the most popular franchises could see a decline in underage players, which could also mean less underage players online. More parental controls and restrictions may sooth arguments over rowdy/annoying kids in your lobby or game even though the ESRB doesn’t rate online interactions.
However, this reminds me arguments heard in regards to gun laws. Some have argued along these lines when it comes to gun control, “Well, criminals don’t follow the law. So what makes you think putting more laws in place are going to stop them from having guns?” The same can be said about the PSA for the ESRB.
The announcement looks to provide parents with the necessary tools for restrictions. As stated in the press release “…According to industry statistics, approximately half of American homes have at least one video game console.” How many of those are adults with young kids not old enough to even play? What about parents who have a console and don’t care what their kids play, regardless of rating? The console being in the house statistic become unimportant in these cases, not to mention the rise of PC gaming. I do applaud the commission for the efforts thus far put forth and the partners involved.
I feel the impact its striving for would be minimal, as kids who are already playing games like Call of Duty or Halo aren’t going to care if they pick up the next bloody game.